Diary 2016


Frequently Asked Questions (updated)


1 - Children : Are under 18s allowed in the Festival?

Due to licensing restrictions, under-18s are not allowed to purchase tickets and they are not permitted to enter the beer tents, age will be verified on entry. Under 18's are allowed into the castle grounds during normal Castle opening hours (City Council admission charges may apply) but they will be required to leave site at 5pm.

2 - Dogs : Are dogs allowed at the festival?

The City Council do not allow dogs into the castle grounds at any time (apart from Guide dogs). This is not a CAMRA decision and is not something we have any influence over – sorry.

3 - Pass-Outs : Will I be allowed to leave the festival and return later.

Unfortunately due to severe abuse of the system in previous years pass-outs are not available at any time during the festival. Once you have entered the grounds, either with a ticket or by paying cash on the gate you will not be permitted to return once you have left the site. In the case of emergencies customers should contact the steward on the exit gate.

4 - Ordering Tickets from Abroad : I live overseas, how can I purchase an advance ticket?

Internet ticket sales are handled for us by SeeTickets of Nottingham. They will mail tickets out to some countries within the EEC but not further afield. However if you contact festival@nottinghamcamra.org we will endeavour to assist you in getting tickets.

5 - Gluten Free Beer : Unfortunately I have recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease meaning that I cannot eat or drink anything with gluten in - will you be showcasing any gluten free beers at this year’s festival?

We have great difficulty in sourcing gluten-free cask beers, we managed to source four for 2015. However for 2016 it already appears that we may be able to get a fair few more. We will set ourselves the task of trying to source at least a dozen.. Incidentally we are not supposed to sell bottled beers at the festival as there is a strict no glass policy on the site, so we have no bottled gluten-free bottled beers. However we are assured that all the ciders and perries we sell are gluten free.

6 - Disabled Access : Are disabled facilities available at the festival and can my carer gain access with me?

Disabled access is possible to all areas of the festival and we welcome disabled customers. There is a short but fairly steep hill up to the upper marquee, but anyone needing assistance should contact the stewards and assistance will be given. Disabled toilets are available, although some of these are of the portable variety (as are most of our toilet facilities at the festival). Disabled customers will be charged full admission prices but accompanying carers will be admitted free of charge.

7 - At a lot of festivals the last day tends to run dry early, how likely is this with the Saturday (and last day) of the Robin Hood Festival?

We always plan never to sell out of beer and have not done so for well over twenty years, though even after all those years some people refuse to attend Saturday evening claiming that we "always run out of beer"! Whilst there are about 800 beers on the stillage at any one time we have over 300 reserves that are added as space becomes available. We also have a van load of extra (sale or return) beers parked on site in case it is needed, in addition local brewers top up their supplies as necessary.

Last year when we did Sunday take-down there were still over 200 different beers left from the Saturday evening (more than most festivals start with!).

8 - Can I pay at the Gate or do I have to obtain an advance ticket?

None of the sessions are all-ticket and discounts are available to cash payers on Friday and Saturday.

In 2015 there was never a point where cash paying customers were not able to be admitted, although of course it is impossible to guarantee this.

Since Nottingham’s annual Beer Festival moved to the Castle in 2008 attendances have increased considerably every year, meaning that the grounds can be at capacity at peak periods. This is despite us adding more and more covered areas to increase capacity further, indeed in 2014 we added a further marquee for customer seating down in the bandstand area, which will again be available in 2016.

The castle and its grounds are an ancient monument, which is owned and operated by the city council, and understandably they are concerned that attendances should not exceed comfortable and safe levels. It was insisted that we should sell advance tickets some years ago to ensure that we are able to manager and control numbers more satisfactorily but the sessions are NOT ALL TICKET, allowing us to admit some pay on the gate customers on each day. However the actual number we are able to allow in is dependant on the weather, as when it is wet the marquees tend to become more crowded. In 2015 there was never a point where cash paying customers were not able to be admitted.

As well as regulating numbers to allow for changes in the weather, paying on the gate is permitted because customers with advance tickets, which allow them all day access, often do not arrive until later, early evening on Friday and Saturday afternoons being the busiest periods, and so this allows us to permit cash payers in at other times to fill the resultant spaces. Saturday evening after about 7.30 pm is a good example, when the afternoon peak of customers reduces and we are able to allow a good number of cash payers in at discounted rates.

So when are the best and least favourable times to attempt entry without an advance ticket?

Wednesday Evening. - There is usually plenty of space and you are virtually guaranteed to get in. All of the bars and stalls are open and there is a full programme of entertainment. Some people feel this is the best session to attend.

Thursday – Whilst Thursday’s are becoming increasingly popular we have yet to see a situation where attendances have reached capacity, although Thursday evening gets pleasantly busy. Pay on the gate admissions are unlikely to be limited although if you wish to be absolutely certain then you can buy an advance ticket.

Friday - The Friday session usually fills up gradually during the afternoon and by early evening we are often at capacity. The earlier you arrive the better your chances of being able to pay on the gate, at a discounted price, but once we reach capacity it is “one in” “one out” with queues possible. This stage was never reached in 2015.

Saturday - Cash admission is discounted for 2016. This is becoming the most problematic day with regard to cash admissions although there proved to be no customers who failed to gain admission in 2015. By 9.30 am we usually find that a queue of would be cash payers has started to form and in some previous years we have had to operate a one in one out system by early afternoon. Attendances ten to peak by late afternoon and so there is always space available in the evening.

Cash admission is further discounted to £10 after 7.30pm on Saturday evening

9 - What if I want to visit the Festival but do not drink Beer or Cider or am a designated driver?

There will be a bar serving country wines and some soft drinks are available around the various festival food stalls. However we will not be selling spirits as this is it not really appropriate to the ethos of the Festival.

From the Home Page :


The Answer can be found here ....

When is the Festival? Wednesday 12th to Saturday 15th October 2016
Where is the Festival? In the grounds of the historic Nottingham Castle more
What are the opening hours? 11am-11pm Thursday - Saturday / 5.30pm-11pm Wednesday
How do I get to the Festival? Nottingham Castle is a short walk from the railway station and both bus stations. The tram is about four minutes walk away. Map
Let's get down to business - what is there to drink? In 2015 we offered 1,270 different draught real ales and well over 200 real ciders. Soft drinks, teas & coffees and country wines are also available. Check out the 2016 beer listings here / and the cider list here. For alternative formats visit our Beer and Cider pages. Please be aware there will be continuous adjustments to the lists up to the start of the Festival.
What are the admission prices? Advance tickets & Pay at gate - details for 2016 are now available here
Why do I have to pay to get in? The festival costs a massive amount to stage, with large costs for marquees, lighting, toilets etc. not to mention the beer.
Do I have to buy a glass? You can bring your own glass, as long as it carries a government stamp. If you wish to drink thirds or halves your glass must have the necessary lines. Glasses are included in ticket prices and are refundable for £2.50 each on exit if you wish. If you have your own glass we will give you £2.50 worth of beer tokens (refundable) in lieu of a glass.
Are there Beer Tokens or is it a Cash Bar? It is strictly a token-only festival. A number of refundable tokens are included in admission prices.
Can I buy more beer tokens once inside the festival? Yes there are token booths where you can purchase as many tokens as you need. They are refundable but only in small numbers, so don't buy too many at a time.
How much is a pint? Prices have again been held this year, which means that all but the very strong beers and ciders will be £3 a pint
Do you sell drinks in a third of a pint? Yes we do, our glasses are half pint tankards but also  have a third line on them.
Will there be a programme available? Yes programmes are available free of charge. Pick one up on your way in - or have a look at what 2016 had to offer here - 2017 will be found on this page when available.
Will all the beers listed be available all the time? Around 800 beers will be on sale from the start, as these run out they are replaced by beers marked as RES (reserve) in the programme. By late Saturday evening we usually still have a few hundred beers on sale, more than most festivals start with. By the way we never run out, rumours that this has happened in the past are merely urban myths.
Do you sell lager? We sell some cask conditioned lagers i.e. real ales
Can I bring my own beer? Not really, that would be like taking coals to Newcastle!
Can I bring children? Children are allowed on site until 5pm, at the discretion of the Castle staff. However all under 18s must leave site at 5pm.
Will I be able to buy food at the Festival? There are numerous catering stalls offering a wide selection of world cuisine more
Is there a designated smoking area? Smoking is permitted in an area behind the upper marquee, this is partly covered.
Is parking at the venue available? No parking is allowed on site, there is no space available and vehicle movement is not permitted when the festival is open. There are numerous public car parks situated nearby.
What is the policy about bringing dogs? No dogs are allowed in the Castle grounds, except assistance dogs. This is a city Council ruling that applies at all times of the year.
Will there be live entertainment? There is a full programme of live entertainment on the Victorian bandstand at all times. Limited updates are now available and can be seen here and will continue to be posted until the programme is finalised. For those who prefer their festival to be music-free there is no music in the large upper marquee.
What if it rains? The festival has several very large marquees so there is plenty of cover if it rains.
Will I have to queue to get in? We do all we can to keep queueing to a minimum, particularly for ticket holders.
Can I buy tickets in advance? Advance tickets go on sale on 1st June 2016 from the Nottingham Tourism centre in the Market square and online. Friday and Saturday tickets sell very quickly so make sure you get to purchase them early. However it is possible to pay on the gate although this is dependant on space being available, for 2015 it was possible to pay on the gate at all times, but we cannot guarantee this.
Do you still need bar staff? We rely on a large group of volunteers to staff the festival. Applications are now being taken - the closing date has been extended - forms here
Can you recommend accommodation? Nottingham has a very wide choice of hotels, varying in price from budget upwards. We would recommend using the established hotel search engines such as booking.com
Are you on Twitter and Facebook? We have dedicated feeds/accounts on both Twitter and Facebook
Is there an app? The app will be available prior to the start of the festival and the link will appear on this page.
Do you have any gluten free beer? We aim to have the widest possible choice of gluten free real ales as we can possibly obtain. The number available nationally has increased significantly in recent months. A list will appear on this web site about ten days before the festival. All vegan beers are listed in the programme and identified on the signs on each cask. All of our ciders and perries are gluten free. 2016 update here
Do you have wine? Country wines are available in both the upper and lower marquees.
What if I have an allergy or food intolerance? We attempt to show all allergen information on our beer signs, but if in doubt please ask our bar staff.
Do you offer a Student discount? Card carrying members of the Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham Real Ale Societies are given additional beer tokens on entry, in line with those given to CAMRA members. No other discounts are available.
Can I get a pass-out and come back in? It is not possible to obtain a pass-out to leave the festival at any time, following serious abuse of the system at earlier festivals. In the case of an emergency please speak to the steward on the exit gate.
Do you have vegan friendly beers? We aim to offer a good range of beers that are suitable for vegans. The number of such beers has increased considerably in recent months and it is probable that around 5% of the total number of beers on sale will be vegan friendly, hopefully more. All our ciders and perrys are vegan friendly.
What is 'unfined beer'? Given enough time beer will clear naturally, but there is often not time to allow it to settle in the cellar for a couple of weeks or more, while nature does it's thing. So it has long been the practice to add a suspension of tropical fish swim bladders mixed with sodium metabisulphite (a disinfectant and preservative). This is called isinglass and many beers at our festival will be cleared by this method. The process is known as fining the beer. So look out for beers marked as “Unfined” at our festival and give them a try, we think you will agree it is worth it. And of course these beers are suitable for vegans to enjoy.
Can I pay on the gate? None of the sessions are 'ticket only' and there will be a number of 'pay on the gate' admissions available daily - for full details download word or .pdf file or visit the ticket page
What if I have a disability? We aim to make the Festival accessible to anyone with long-term or permanent disabilities, mobility, sight and/or hearing impairments and hope you will find the answer here
Do you provide Braille or Large-Print literature? Large-print or Braille versions of the programme can be made available if requested in advance – please contact festival organisers at least 3 weeks prior to the start of the event.
How do the beer prices compare to 2015? Beer prices have been held yet again for 2016, which means just £3 a pint for all but the strongest beers and ciders.
What is FFF? The Festival Fringe Fortnight involves several pubs who offer an 'extended' Festival flavour around the Robin Hood Beer & Cider Festival - details of Ales, Beers, Ciders, Entertainment & Food can be found here 
 How can I contact you?  See Contact page and/or below

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Page updated : 14th October 2016